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Youth was served as the kid-dominated “Stranger Things” proved the surprise Screen Actors Guild Awards top TV winner Sunday, with “Shameless” star William H. Macy scoring his own upset victory over Jeffrey Tambor of “Transparent.”
“Stranger Things,” Netflix’s supernatural thriller that earned breakout buzz in its freshman season, deprived three-time consecutive winner “Downton Abbey” of one last trophy for its concluding year. The streaming service claimed a leading four awards as the traditional broadcast networks were shut out, something they’re getting used to.
In the Donald Trump presidential era, awards ceremony viewers may have to get used to especially heavy doses of politics amid the glitz.
“In light of all that’s going on in the world today, it’s difficult to celebrate the already celebrated ‘Stranger Things,” said the show’s David Harbour, accepting the award for best TV drama series ensemble on behalf of 15 fellow cast members heavy on teens.
In a lengthy speech that reflected the evening’s consistently activist tone, Harbour suggested that people follow the lead of his lawman character and “punch some people in the face when they seek to destroy the weak and the disenfranchised and the marginalized.”
Macy’s win as best TV comedy actor came despite Tambor’s hefty awards haul for his portrayal of a transgender character, including last year’s SAG trophy, two Emmys and a Golden Globe.
“I’m shocked. I’m probably not as shocked as Jeffrey, but I’m pretty shocked. I would like to go against the strain this evening and thank President Donald Trump for making Frank Gallagher seem so normal,” the actor said, referring to the reprobate dad he plays in Showtime’s “Shameless.”
Louis-Dreyfus, who was honored as best TV comedy actress for HBO’s “Veep,” also started off on a lighter note.
“Whether the Russians did or did not hack the voting of tonight’s SAG Awards, I look out on the million or probably even the million and a half people in this room and I say this award is legitimate and I won. I won, the winner is me, landslide,” she said, referring to Trump’s preoccupation with his loss of the popular vote.
Turning serious, Louis-Dreyfus called herself an immigrant’s daughter and an American patriot who feels compelled to say “this immigrant ban is a blemish and it is un-American,” a reference to Trump’s order to halt immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations.
Netflix’s big night included “Orange Is the New Black,” which won best ensemble in a comedy series for the third consecutive year, and star Taylor Schilling had something to say.
“We stand up here representing a diverse group of people, representing generations of families who have sought a better life here from places like Nigeria, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ireland,” Schilling said, “and we know that it’s going to be up to us and all of you, probably, to keep telling stories that show what unites us is stronger than the forces that divide us.”
Two stars of Netflix’s British royal saga “The Crown” were winners: Claire Foy, who starred as Queen Elizabeth II, and John Lithgow for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the series.
Sarah Paulson, an Emmy winner for her role as prosecutor Marcia Clark in FX’s miniseries “The People V. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” triumphed again and used part of her time on stage to call for donations to the ACLU.
Bryan Cranston, honored for playing President Lyndon Johnson in the HBO movie “All the Way,” offered wry guidance for the new U.S. president.
“I’m often asked how would Lyndon Johnson think about Donald Trump. And I honestly feel that (president No.) 36 would put his arm around (president No.) 45 and earnestly wish him success,” Cranston said. “And he would also whisper in his ear something he said often, as a form of encouragement and a cautionary tale, ‘Just don’t piss in the soup that all of us gotta eat.'”